Evaluating another $500 RTX 2070 option
With the launch of the GeForce RTX 2070, NVIDIA seems to have applied some pressure to their partners to get SKUs that actually hit the advertised "starting at $499" price. Compared to the $599 Founders Edition RTX 2070, these lower cost options have the potential to bring significantly more value to the consumer, especially taken into account the relative performance levels of the RTX 2070 to the GTX 1080 we observed in our initial review.
Earlier this week, we took a look at the EVGA RTX 2070 Black Edition, but it's not the only card to hit the $499 price range that we've received.
Today, we are taking a look at MSI's low-cost RTX 2070 offering, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor.
|MSI RTX 2070 ARMOR 8G|
|Base Clock Speed||1410 MHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||1620 MHz|
|Memory Clock Speed||14000 MHz GDDR6|
|Outputs||DisplayPort x 3(v1.4) / HDMI 2.0b x 1 / USB Type-C x1 (VirtualLink) /|
12.1 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches (309 x 155 x 50 mm)
Right off the bat, we can notice some substantial differences between the MSI RTX 2070 Armor and the EVGA RTX 2070 Black Edition we looked at previously.
While the EVGA Black Edition card we used in the RTX 2070 review utilized the shorter reference PCB mated to a dual fan cooler, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor uses a custom PCB, which spans the entire length of the card.
In addition to being longer than the reference PCB, this custom MSI design is also significantly taller (around 1.5 inches), which might cause some problems with the smaller form factor, even mid-tower, cases.
Despite the reference RTX 2070 designs using a single 8-pin PCI Express power connection, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor adds an additional 6-pin connector. While this still won't mean users will get access to substantially higher power target levels, it does allow for the distribution of load across multiple power connectors which could be beneficial for multi-rail power supplies.
There is an MSI RTX 2070 ARMOR OC variant available for an extra $50; it seems that that only raises the out-of-box clock speeds, and does not contain any hardware differences. Considering how easy it is to overclock Turing-based graphics cards, especially with the automated NVIDIA Scanner technology built into MSI Afterburner and EVGA Precision X1, it seems pointless to spend the extra $50 for an increased stock clock speeds.
Across some of the titles we use in our full GPU benchmarking suite at 4K, we see only a 1-3% performance increase over the EVGA RTX 2070 Black Edition running at reference clock speeds.
Overclocking, Thermals, and Power Consumption
In its stock configuration, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor performs slightly better than the EVGA Black Edition we previously reviewed, hitting a solid 1800MHz clock speed under load, while maintaining temperatures of around 65C.
Conversely, the RTX 2070 Armor uses around 10W more than the EVGA card at load to achieve the higher clock speeds.
Taking a look at the power breakdown by connector, we can see that the 8-pin PCI Express connector is maxing out at 100W, distributing the rest of the load to the auxiliary 6-pin connector.
With some manual overclocking, the RTX 2080 Armor can hit a consistent 2000 MHz, while still maintaining the same 65C temperatures. This is around a 50 MHz advantage of what we were able to hit with the EVGA Black Edition RTX 2070.
When all is said and done, the RTX 2070 Armor is almost 6% faster than the RTX 2070 Black Edition running at the 2070 reference clock speeds. When both RTX 2070s are overclocked, however, the gap becomes negligible.
The sound levels of the MSI RTX 2070 Armor in its stock configuration are consistent to what we've seen from other dual-fan Turing-based designs including the EVGA RTX 2070 Black Edition. In an overclocked state, the fans only ramp up around 1 dBA louder and maintain quiet operations.
The MSI RTX 2070 Armor also features MSI Zero Frozr technology so that the fans will stay off in situations where the GPU is under 60C.
Lest I forget to mention the RGB-equipped MSI logo on the edge of the card
For the $500 price point, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor is an impressive package, especially considering the $599 price tag of the NVIDIA Founders Edition card.
While the MSI RTX 2070 Armor is a bit larger physically and may be more challenging to fit in some cases, the slightly better clock speeds for the same price would justify picking it up over the EVGA RTX 2070 Black Edition we previously reviewed.
For managing to pack in even more performance into the base $500 price for RTX 2070 cards, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor earns a PC Perspective Gold Award, and would be a great choice for gamers looking to buy a new graphics card for above 1080p gaming.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from MSI for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of MSI but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||MSI had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by MSI for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||MSI has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||MSI is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review.|